New Bedford’s Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Officially Canceled
No surprise here, but it is now official: there will be no malasada, no bifana, no chourico, and worst of all, no Madeira wine flowing at the New Bedford feast grounds this August.
In what was an inevitable turn of events, one of the world's biggest Portuguese feasts was forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The writing has been on the wall for a while, but there was just no way to bring in the sea of people that flock to New Bedford's Madeira Field for the feast and keep it safe. It doesn't help that people come from all corners of the globe to experience one of New Bedford's cultural treasures.
In a Rock and Fox Show interview back in March, Clube Madeirense S.S. Sacramento, Inc. Public Relations Chairperson Steve Duarte remained hopeful.
"As you know, we start planning for the next feast on the last day of the feast itself – a new committee meets on that Sunday evening – and they start the whole process over two days after the feast ends," he said. "As you can imagine, they are well entrenched into this year's feast, and as of right now the feast is a 100 percent go. What better way to have a celebration and help out the community when this is all over than to have our feast?"
But that was back in March. The world is a lot different than it was then. In this COVID age, situations change week-to-week, even day-to-day. As the weeks in isolation were crossed off the calendar, it became more and more evident that there was no way to do this year's feast safely.
Duarte told us that the decision was an easy one. "Actually, it was not hard at all. We put the safety of our members, our staff, and all of our visitors ahead of anything. That is number one."
One bit of good news: the club has confirmed that they will still be honoring the 50 academic scholarships and 5 vocational awards that have been promised.
So, the 106th Festa will be on hold, for now. We'll have to delay our plans for the one we've all been waiting for here at Fun 107 – the 107th feast!